What do the terms “daylighting” and “green technology” really mean for consumers who are looking to invest? While electrically powered incandescent and fluorescent bulbs still dominate the market, sustainable lighting is quietly revolutionizing the way we think about everyday life. New solutions such as solid state LEDs and sustainable skylights have already begun to transform the industry. While it may seem like investing in emerging technology is often risky, here are a few good reasons why daylighting is worth the risk.
Reduces Carbon Footprint
An everyday convenience for most people, modern electric lighting has a huge effect on the environment. Almost one-fifth of all energy produced worldwide is used to power electric lighting, and 67% of that electricity is produced by burning fossil fuels. Reducing the amount of energy used in lighting would massively decrease the level of carbon emissions.
According to the Department of Energy, replacing all incandescent and fluorescent lighting with solid state LEDs would reduce US energy usage by nearly 50%. This is equal to the reduction in greenhouse emissions of 40 million cars. Meanwhile natural lighting has been proven to reduce energy use by up to 80%—the equivalent of 64 million cars!
Provides a Better Quality of Light
In bright, natural light, human eyes can differentiate between approximately 500,000 different colors. Beneath modern fluorescent lighting, they can only identify eight. This incredible contrast shows why daylighting is a superior source of light.
Natural light has been shown to improve visibility, allowing people to see fine details and edges more effectively, as well as improving both depth perception and peripheral vision. One Boeing facility found that introducing natural lighting into their workspace improved the worker’s ability to detect imperfections in jet panels during manufacturing by 20%.
Better Light Equals Better Health
Human beings thrive under the light of the sun, and there are studies to prove it. Moderate exposure to sunlight has been tied to preventing major medical conditions such as;
Seasonal affective disorder
Select autoimmune diseases
Similarly, daily exposure to sunlight has been proven to increase feelings of positivity. This leads to improved mental health and productivity. Studies also show that consistent, broad spectrum light is better for your eyes. New sustainable light sources prevent the headaches and eyestrain caused by the glare and flicker of electric lighting.
Get Ahead of the Evolving Market
Many industry experts have predicted that the age of incandescent and fluorescent lighting may be coming to an end and new, sustainable light sources are the future. Weidenbach-Brown CEO Chris Brown says that there is "a storm coming," and that many lighting distributors will go out of business as old products and business models are phased out.
As sustainable lighting solutions pave the way for the next generation of lighting, doesn't it make sense to invest in now? Industry analyst Craig DiLouie predicts that "improvements in glazing and daylight delivery systems, backed by revelations connecting light and health, may drive daylight to the fore as a primary light source."
Going Green Saves Green
Switching over to sustainable lighting creates huge savings and reduces energy usage and costs anywhere from 22% to 90%. In addition to savings on the cost of electricity used to power lights, sustainable lighting products also minimize bulb replacement and increase saving on the cost of lamp maintenance.
It also saves money on air-conditioning costs. Incandescent lights convert nearly 95% of a bulb’s electricity into heat, and fluorescents convert 55% of the electricity they burn into heat. New, more efficient light sources like LEDs and advanced daylighting products generate a minimal amount of heat.
Beyond reducing existing costs, sustainable lighting is a smart investment because of its rapid returns. Ciralight SunTrackers, an active daylighting technology, can return fully on their cost in 2 ½ to 3 ½ years. They operate entirely off grid, so SunTrackers not only reduce the cost of lighting a building—they practically pay for themselves.